Taipei, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- The United States would invite Taiwan to join a potential new global health group if it leaves the World Health Organization, US official Alex Azar said Monday.
America’s health secretary made the comments during a visit to the island, the highest Washington official to do so since 1979 when the US broke official ties with Taipei.
“It’s a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from President Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said.
“The United States has always been and will remain the largest funder of global public health in the world,” he added.
“After our departure from the WHO, we will work with others in the world community to find the appropriate vehicles for continuing to support, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, global public health on the order that the United States has done in the past.”
He continued that Taiwan would “of course” be included in any future talks.
There have been increasing calls in recent months for Taiwan to be included in the WHO following its success in containing the coronavirus pandemic.
It was one of the first territories in the world to establish preventative measures after the first outbreak of Covid-19 was reported in Wuhan in central China.
The island has only reported 480 infections and seven deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to official data from the Center for Disease Control.
Azar praised Taiwan’s response to the pandemic as “among the most successful in the world” which he described as “a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature of Taiwan’s society and culture”.